The Los Angeles Lakers added shooting guard Ben McLemore partly because of team’s struggles shooting from deep.
They announced the move during the first quarter of the team’s game on Tuesday against the Toronto Raptors in Tampa, Fla.
Apparently, the rest of the team got head coach Frank Vogel’s message.
L.A. dominated from the opening tip in a 110-101 victory over the Raptors that was not as close as the score indicated.
L.A. started the game making 9 of 10 from the 3-point line and taking a 40-28 lead at the end of the first quarter. The nine, three pointers were a season high for the Lakers in a quarter.
The Lakers led by as many as 34 points in the first half, with seven L.A. players finishing in double figures. The Lakers snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Raptors with the win.
Vogel would not comment on the addition of McLemore before the game because the signing was not official but did talk in general about what his plans are when the Lakers bring in a new player.
“If we’re going to add a player, we’re going to add somebody that has a skill set that we need,” Vogel said, when asked in general about adding a player like McLemore. “We want to add as many weapons as we can, and then use them however many games left we have this season to get all of our players sharp for the playoffs.
“That would be the mindset, to have all of our weapons in rhythm, comfortable with our system and ready to go. So, in any given playoff series, if that players’ skill set is needed, they’re ready to go.”
Tempers flared with 2:24 in the first quarter and the Lakers up 14 points when Dennis Schröder intentionally fouled Toronto’s OG Anunoby on an open breakaway. While Schröder held Anunoby from hitting the ground the Toronto big man took umbrage, flipping Schröder to the ground.
That sparked Schröder jumping up and going after Anunoby, with Gary Trent Jr. attempting to break up the altercation and Montrezl Harrell pushing Trent during the dust up.
Harrell and Anunoby were ejected for their involvement in the incident.
The Lakers improved to 32-19 overall with a win to start the team’s five-game road swing. The Raptors dropped to 20-31 on the year.
Top player: Talen Horton-Tucker led the Lakers with 17 points and six assists off the bench. Markieff Morris added 15 points and nine rebounds
What I liked: The Lakers shot 18 of 40 (45 percent) from beyond the arc. L.A. finished with eight steals and seven blocks defensively. Marc Gasol had four of those blocks.
What I didn’t like: The Lakers finished with 21 turnovers. Los Angeles let the Raptors chip away at a 34-point lead, cutting it to 17 points near the end of the third quarter and nine at the end of the game.
Injuries: Vogel said Wesley Matthews (neck strain) was available after missing two games with a neck strain. Matthews finished with nine points and five rebounds. However, center Andre Drummond (bruised right big toe) missed his third straight game, although Vogel is hopeful the big man can play on Thursday at Miami. Vogel said Drummond participated in some offensive drill work in practice on Monday, but still has tenderness in his toe.
They said it: “I think we’re playing extremely hard. We’re trying to play the right way offensively, but it takes time when you have to make this type of adjustment. You kind of go through a wave of scouts where you’re going to see different game plans thrown at guys that are now the primary options, that were not typically the primary options. So, those players and us as coaches have to work through those things.” – Vogel on life for his team without LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the lineup. Both players made the trip to Florida. James did not have a walking boot on his injured, right high-ankle sprain.